The Origin of the Word Ailurophile

The origin of the word ailurophile, which means ‘cat lover’, is found in the ancient Greek language. ‘Ailurus’ is the ancient Greek word for the domestic cat. It is also spelled ‘ailourus’. The word was coined, it is believed, by Herodotus, the Greek historian, when he first saw cats while visiting Egypt in the 5th century BC. He referred to them as ‘tail wavers’ which in ancient Greek is ‘ailuroi’.

The suffix is ‘phile’ which means ‘lover’, specifically: ‘denoting a person or thing having a fondness for a specific thing’.

The word: ailuro + phile = cat lover. Ailurophilia is the love of cats.

Sources: Dr Desmond Morris, Google.

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